Friday, April 11, 2008

The Donut: A Canadian History

Yesterday, I broke down and bought The Book. And it's pretty interesting.

Last night I also found myself in the midst of a quintessential Canadian celebration. The Montreal Canadiennes won their first game of the playoff series. The celebration rivaled that of Denver winning the game that put them in the World Series.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Some people love them, want to live in them forever. Some people hate them, some like to stay a few days, or even just a few hours - say for the shopping, the museums, or the restaurants. For me, I'm starting to discover that the less a city is like a city, the more I like it.

Within the last few years I've spent a few days in Montreal, Portland (OR), Denver, Pittsburgh, Luxembourg, Ghent, and Amsterdam. Favorites? Portland and Denver followed by Amsterdam. What do those cities have in common? Bikes, an emphasis on outdoor recreation, and except Amsterdam, excellent bookstores.

Which brings us to Montreal. Hitting the road at 9 am it took until 2, for me to find 1 bookstore - and that was next to McGill University. Bikes? Yes, there are some but I didn't see a single bike shop which makes me wonder. There are several small parks (Place) scattered about in squares which are well kept but really no plein aire type features.

But while it is not my favorite city, don't get me wrong it is interesting. Old Montreal, or Vieux Montreal is old. 1700-1850's and well kept. One gets a deep seated feel of history walking the streets and there are plenty of museums to tell the back story. I went to Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, or the Sailor's Church, it being maritime and me being paid to be here and all. The original structure was built in 1675. That was followed by a few fires, and few renovations, and artistic additions. The resulting church is a tasteful blend of it all, the nave even has boat chandeliers.

And the could spend a whole day just reading menus. Making the choice of where to eat lunch was trying but the idea of Lamb and Olive stew just pulled me to the last one. That and micro brews.

Right now I'm taking a little break before this evenings party at the McCord Museum of Canadian History.

Je suis en Montreal

After a long, but often beautiful train ride up the west side of Lake Champlain yesterday I arrived at L'hotel Bonaventure Hilton - conveniently located across from the train station (Gare Central). My room has a great view out over the city and onto the St. Lawrence Seaway.

It's all bilingual here and that's pretty cool. Also cool - they actually do talk hockey! a lot. And then this morning when looking for some breakfast I passed several beautiful bakeries and pastry shops with the most delicate and chocolate and flaky pastries on display. But do you know where the line was? Tim Hortons. And it was a long line. I peaked into the cases, looked at the menu and sure enough it's the same Tim Hortons we have. Minus the lines.

By some gliche or something it appears that I am not registered for the sessions today (Museums and the Web Conference) and as they are full, I can not register. Sooo. I'm off to explore the Old City or Vieux Montreal. But I will be thinking about work the whole time.